- You must prove that the other person had a duty to do something (like put out some kind of warning that a floor was slippery) or not do something (like make an illegal left turn), and that they broke that duty. This is often simply called proving negligence.
- You must prove causation It’s not enough that the other person failed in their duty; you have to prove that their failure was the cause of you getting injured
How do you prove causation?
In personal injury law, we often use a test that we called the “but for” test. You could also think of this as the “if it weren’t for” test. Here’s how it works:
- Describe what the negligent party did wrong
- Now, say, “If it weren’t for (what they did), I wouldn’t have gotten hurt.” Does it sound legitimate?
For example, “If it weren’t for that employee forgetting to put out the Wet Floor sign, I wouldn’t have slipped and broken my wrist.” Well, that’s probably true if the whole reason you slipped was because of the wet floor. But it’s probably not true if you tripped on your untied shoelaces.
Or, “If it weren’t for them making an illegal left turn, there never would have been a car accident.” Probably true if you were driving legally and they turned into you. Maybe not true if you were also texting when it happened, rather than watching the road
Generally speaking, the stronger the “but for” or “if it weren’t for” test sounds when you say it, the more likely it is that you can prove causation—and recover money damages for what happened
Of course, you (or more likely, your personal injury lawyer) will still need to put together the evidence to prove it, but this is a good way to check yourself on whether you have a strong claim.
Talk to a Lawyer for Free
If you were injured, you shouldn’t be stuck trying to figure out if you can prove causation—or even who the at-fault party is. Personal injury law is complex, and the best way to get a sense of how much money you might be able to recover is to talk to an attorney.
At John Foy & Associates, we will sit down with you and give you a FREE professional opinion to get you answers. We also charge nothing if we don’t get you money. Don’t wait. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.